Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Story One Hundred & Five - Revenge

After the judgment was handed down, the Official Solicitor announced that she wanted to pursue damages for Steven. I've always been uncomfortable discussing money, so although I agreed in principle, I left it up to her to take the matter through court.

There was a year of fruitless negotiations with Hillingdon, whose starting position was that they should not have to pay anything. As the year wore on, they backtracked but couldn't agree a figure with the OS.

A year after the judgment, the court ordered Hillingdon to pay Steven £35k in damages. It still took until February 2013 for Steven to get the money because, firstly Hillingdon took an age to pay out and then I had to be appointed Stevens property and affairs deputy for me to manage his money.

In the meantime, in September 2012, Hillingdon called me to a meeting and announced they were stopping my housing benefit. Their solution to this catastrophe was for Steven to be made the tenant of our flat. But here's the rub - he wouldn't qualify for housing benefit either and would have to use his damages to pay the rent. So, by hook or by crook, they would get their money back.

They couldn't sustain this position, which I felt was intended to create as much stress as possible. Eventually, they agreed that as Steven would be homeless, they had a duty to house him but he would still have to pay full rent until his damages dropped below the threshold. In keeping with the way the State dismisses families, I am not recognized as Stevens father as he is over 18 - I am just classified as his live in carer.

Finally, in November 2013, Steven was allocated a lovely house in Cowley, close to his beloved Uncle Wayne. I brought all new stuff for Steven as it could be his home for a very long time. The council thought I should have used a local charity furniture warehouse but that was only so there would be more of his damages left for them to retrieve.

Since December 2011, there have been several acts of revenge - the canceling of the contract with the care agency with no notice, the refusal to offer respite, the long protracted saga of the personal budget. But the housing issue was the big one. I managed to shield Steven from most of it but it took a real toll on my health. Hillingdon played the system card again and forced Steven to have yet another mental capacity assessment - this time to see if he had the capacity to manage a tenancy.

I guess you shouldn't expect to get away Scott free after taking on the system. Its odd that from the word go back in 2009, Hillingdon personalized the fight, whereas for me, it was only ever about getting Steven back home. No matter how much bad publicity Hillingdon got, there was still a price we had to pay for fighting for Steven's rights.


  1. my understanding is in terms of the law that his award is behind a veil in terms of benefits and whether the council likes it or not and has the opinion it can be spent to their preferences that is not the case Steven has the right to a family life and can enhance his life with that money.............if he wants to blow it on a BMW that is his choice not theirs :0)

  2. As Steven's Deputy, you can sign the tenancy agreement. That's why you were appointed by the CoP.
    Personal injury awards I.e. damages, are disregarded when assessing for means tested benefits. Therefore Steven is entitled to HB, IS etc etc